“As Efficient as a U-Haul” — One Family’s Story of Moving by Bike

There are gradations of commitment among those who bike for transportation.

On one end, you may have the occasional bike commuter. The person who uses other means when it rains, or it’s cold, or it’s dark. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, you have the Davis family from Davis, California.

Moving by bike: the Davis family of Davis, California sets a new standard for car free living. Photo: Sac Cycle Chic

Robb Davis and his family recently moved into a new home about two miles from the old one — and they did so entirely by bicycle. With help from some friends and plenty of trailers and cargo bikes, the group moved the entire contents of a three-bedroom house — including a washing machine! — in just four hours. Best of all, the family says, nothing was damaged or broken.

Lorena Beightler at Network blog Sac Cycle Chic, brings us this interview with Mr. Davis:

Our family has not owned a car for nearly 8 years and we try to do all we can to lower our carbon footprint and moving by bike was merely a natural extension of that commitment.  In addition, various friends in the various biking communities here expressed an interest in participating in a “bike move” if anyone ever did one.

We were the first to really try it.  I asked people who helped us “why” and one person said that he thought a bike move might be kind of like a “gimmick” but once he had seen it he realized that it could be as efficient as a move with a U-Haul.  Everyone else answered the question by saying:  ”Why not move by bike?”  We all really want to model how we can live differently:  rely less on petroleum, get exercise, be together in community and have fun doing even hard work.  The bike move gave us a chance to do all that.  If you could have seen the smiles on people’s faces, the laughter, the story telling–the “being together”, you would understand why we did it.  It was a great community event.

Pretty amazing. If you’d like to try it, the Davis family recommends inviting a bunch of friends with a variety of trailers, using plenty of boxes, and, lastly, knowing your limits: only do it if you’re moving a short distance. For some other move-by-bike stories, check out this pair of Streetfilms from back in the day.

Elsewhere on the Network today: A member blog whose name we cannot reprint asks whether an over-emphasis on recreational biking trails marginalizes cycling as a form of transportation. The City Fix explores the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Walk Friendly Communities program. And The Naked City examines multiple perspectives on the future of the suburbs.